Blogger: Adam Murray

Hard Landscaping – bringing in the big guns

I don’t know about you but the 1980s was never a good decade for fashion. I am sorry cool kids with your high waist jeans, stone-washed denim and patterned leggings – it was never cool. The same goes for technicolour paving slabs. I know that I will probably look back at this blog post in 10 years time and think the same about my contemporary-meets-wildlife garden style.

Let the hard landscaping begin. The only way to do this though was bring in Mike from M H Garden Design to do all the hard graft (I can just about put up a shelf). Within days the harlequin paving was gone and replaced with reclaimed flagstones and decking to get the kid’s buggy to the back gate. Then came my pride and joy – the outdoor kitchen area. My name is Adam Murray and I love cooking and the great outdoors – I need two barbeques. 

  

I very quickly realised that I am that pain-in-the-derriere client. I believe in the trade they call it a snagging list. All the issues I had, even before poor old Mike had had a chance to finish the job, documented in full (not in triplicate). My job is to have an eye for detail – it reared it’s slightly impatient head after the first day. However, give Mike his due and a bit of tweaking here and there we could already start seeing the transformation of our garden into something special.

Being inspired by Giving Nature a Home

The following weekend we went over to RSPB Minsmere for a fun family day out of den building, the beach and cheese scones. On the same morning my brother had sent me a photo of a “strange beast” he had caught in his garden and I quickly waxed lyrical about the wonders of stag beetles and how rare they are, let alone their monstrously long years as a grub. So with this fresh in my mind I was blown away my seeing another little fella walk across the path in front of me on the way to the Wildlife Lookout. It must be fate – so as soon as I got home I huddled with Mike and talked about the virtues of making homes for bugs, just like what we had seen at the new bike sheds on the nature reserve that day.

  

  

Making our first homes for nature

The following week I was back at Minsmere and The Lodge nature reserves, this time for work, and inspired by my previous trip I cashed in a favour with the site staff. My scavenging was a success and within days the garden/building site was full of logs for our log pile and pallets for our bug hotel. Step #4 in the Giving Nature a Home free guide, DONE (see guide as attachment below)! In the words of that great 1980s Kevin Costner movie “build it and [he] they will come”. Maybe the 80s weren’t so bad?

Early results

As you can see amongst the chaos that is our garden at the moment the wildlife is arriving. Not only when the sun is shining but also when we had the Fiji style tropical thunderstorms – our garden is really becoming a delight for the family and those little buzzing, tweeting and scuttling visitors.